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Monday, 9 January 2012

The Peregrine by J A Baker 

I've just finished reading J A Baker's seminal work 'The Peregrine'.

First published in 1967 when attitudes towards wildlife began to change, Baker sets out to write about the peregrines he sees in one small patch of Essex countryside over just one winter season.

There is a melancholy feel to the book; Baker never says as much, but it is as if he is trying to record the dying days of a species ravaged by the then prolific use of chemicals in agriculture, a practice that almost wiped out the entire peregrine population in this country in twenty short years.

It's a work that is viewed as a literary masterpiece, with some of the most marvellous prose of the last century. Baker's style is intense, but beautifully lyrical and poetic.

"This was a day made absolute, the sun unflawed, the blue sky pure. Slate roofs and crows' wings burned white like magnesium. The shining mauve and silver woods, snow-rooted, bit sharply black into the solid blueness of the sky. The air was cold. The wind rose from the north, like cold fire. All was revealed, the moment of creation. a rainbow poured upon rock and shaped into woods and rivers."

It's timeless, and one of those rare things - a book that describes so intensely, so vividly, the author's world, that the reader is transported to that time, and that place with him.

The work has recently been reprinted by Harper Collins, including Baker's sole other work 'The Hill of Summer.'

For further reveiws of the book, or should you want to buy it for yourself feel free to use the amazon.co.uk search key at the top right of my blog.

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